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Public Enemies | 2009 | R | - 5.8.5

During the Depression Era crime wave federal agents attempt to apprehend notorious gangsters, including John Dillinger (Johnny Depp), Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham) and Pretty Boy Floyd (Channing Tatum). One agent (Christian Bale) is hard pressed to stop Public Enemy Number One, Dillinger, under the new FBI and orders from J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup). Also with James Russo, David Wenham, Stephen Dorff, Giovani Ribisi and Marion Cotillard. Directed by Michael Mann. [1:43]

SEX/NUDITY 5 - A man and a woman go to his apartment, they lie in bed (he wears an undershirt) she removes her dress to reveal a long slip (she bends toward the camera and we see cleavage) and there are several close ups of the man and the woman kissing, talking and embracing.
 A man and a woman kiss several times. A man and a woman meet, say hello, and kiss briefly.
 A man enters the door of a bathroom where a woman is in a tub filled with water (we see her bare leg, thigh and hip), the man makes a suggestive remark and the woman invites him to join her in the tub; they are interrupted (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), and the woman wraps a towel around her.
 A man approaches a woman and asks her to join him, she accepts, she asks him to dance, they dance together, he asks her to travel with him around the country, and the woman says the man is in a hurry, to which he replies, "If you were looking at what I'm looking at, you'd be in a hurry too." A man tells another man that he can no longer live in his whorehouses. We see two women in a brothel; no customers are present and no signs of prostitution are evident.
 A woman in a club wears a strapless dress that reveals cleavage and a woman wears a sheer blouse that shows the outline of her slip.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 8 - A man is followed closely by several armed agents, the man turns and pulls a handgun from his pocket, and two agents shoot him (we see one bullet come out of his right cheek toward the camera and another come out of his stomach as he falls face down on the sidewalk in a pool of blood).
 A man runs through woods with a handgun in one hand, followed by law enforcement agents with rifles, many shots are fired, we see one close-up of a rifle fired and the shell ejected, we see the shot penetrate the man's back and explode from his stomach with a shower of blood and matter and he falls on his back, speaks briefly and dies.
 Two agents with guns drawn enter an apartment building, a man appears from an apartment doorway and shoots one agent in the back (blood splatters and we see him in a pool of blood on his back, dead), other agents arrive, a woman screams and gunfire erupts between agents and gangsters: three of them are wounded in the arm and two are killed (a lot of blood is shown on their chests).
 Several agents open fire on two cars: one driver gets out, runs into a field, is fired upon a dozen times and falls dead (we see fire from the muzzles of guns, but no blood), a second driver runs out of his car carrying a Tommy gun, he is fired upon, and he drops to his knees firing the automatic weapon wildly and he slowly slumps over dead (we see a lot of blood in close ups among several body wounds to the torso).
 Several agents fire Tommy guns into a lodge and gangsters inside fire Tommy guns back at them with a lot of flames, smoke, and noise: several men on each side are severely wounded, bleeding liberally from the chest and arms.
 Two cars, one full of FBI agents and the other full of bank robbers, drive down a country road while shooting at one another: one car drives off the road, flips twice and lands against a tree; the side window is broken and the driver's dead bloody face is against the break.
 A man stands in the center of a road, as a car drives past he shoots the driver, pulls him out and onto the ground, and takes the car (we see a little blood on the driver's face); another man runs to the man on the ground and we see blood running from his mouth, nose, and side.
 Armed men breaking out of prison fire at the guards in the guard tower wounding two that fall; guards return fire and wound one man (no blood is shown), another man grabs the wounded man (whose eyes roll back in his head and he collapses) but he then drops him, a guard is shot in the stomach and we see the bullet come out his back followed by a spurt of blood, and a man pistol whips another man and pushes him out of a moving car and off screen.
 Three men enter a bank, pull out rifles and handguns forcing the patrons onto the floor and the bank president in the vault, police officers run to the bank, one is shot in the stomach (we see no blood), a robber strikes a hostage in the head (we see a bloody mark), and the robbers take hostages and fire at police cars outside (we see bullet holes in the cars); two men in the street are wounded and fall (we see blood) and one crawls off screen with his leg convulsing and the hostages are eventually released. Three men enter a bank, pull handguns, punch two guards, one gunman forces a man to open the vault, another robber stands on a counter, laughs, shoots a Tommy gun into the ceiling, then yells at everyone to get down on the floor (which they do), and the gunmen lead three hostages outside, release them as they get in their cars, and drive away amid gunfire (we see bullet holes in store windows and doors, and car bodies).
 A man warns another man that he will die soon and we later see the man in the backseat of a car after a gunfight, with a bloody face and chest wounds and he dies.
 A lawman shoves a man into a prison doorway, down a corridor and into a cell, but the man pulls a shotgun out of a coat sleeve and forces the lawman into a hallway where he knocks a guard down a flight of stairs, gets the guard's gun, subdues a third guard and pushes all three captives into a group of many more guards being held in a room. A man and a woman are interrupted by several agents with rifles who break into their apartment and apprehend the man and take him away (we see him and three others placed in separate jail cells).
 In a prison a new inmate grabs another inmate as a hostage and points a handgun into his neck, forces him downstairs, knocks two policemen down the staircase where they are seen unconscious, another inmate helps grab the warden, forces him to open a gun room, the two men take many guns and distribute them to other inmates and we see five inmates in street clothes drive away slowly.
 A man demands his coat rudely from a coat check girl, a second man punches him in the head, breaks one of the man's fingers, gets his coat for him, throws it at him, and tells him to leave.
 An agent chokes a wounded man on a hospital table demanding answers; the man screams, then spits in the agent's face and faints. An agent handcuffs a woman into a chair and slaps her repeatedly in the face (we see red bruises on the right eye and cheek); the agent refuses to let her use the restroom and we hear her urinate on the floor, but do not see it. A woman enters a store, four agents grab and handcuff her, place her in a police vehicle and take her away. Three agents break into an empty apartment by shooting the door open.
 An attorney yells at a judge, courtroom spectators, and a sheriff and we see an exterior shot of the jailhouse, guarded by 8 policemen and 12 service men in combat helmets and carrying rifles, sandbags are piled up and armed service men line the streets. In a betting parlor, two men pull handguns and demand to speak with the manager, who appears and the men put away their guns. We see men wearing prison uniforms marching to a workroom, unpacking boxes that contain guns and concealing them in their pants. In a squad room, 14 agents pick up rifles and leave together to stake out two movie theaters.
 A man bandages a gunshot wound on another man's shoulder (we see a lot of blood on the arm and torn shirtsleeve, and a black wound). A man has a long, red scar down the right cheek and an X-shaped scar on the back of his head near his neck.
 A man tours a detective's squad room alone and sees black and white photos of dead bodies, groups of guns and rifles, and headshots of criminals stamped "DECEASED." We see the interior of a jail and it is dark, damp, and dirty and prisoners' uniforms are grimy. A screen caption says an FBI agent committed suicide in 1960. A prisoner is transported to a jail amid throngs of press and interested spectators who wave at the prisoner as he rides past them.
 A lead FBI agent tells his squad that they will be using rifles and semiautomatic weapons against bank robbers in Chicago. A doctor says that a bullet is in the patient's left eye, resting on the brain and making it swell. An agent tells a man in a jail cell "They always will leave you in a jail cell until they take you down and execute you." A man announces to the press, "I am announcing this country's first war on crime, against Public Enemy Number One, John Dillinger." A lawman says "Without help I'm leading my men into slaughter!" A newspaper ad reads "John Dillinger - Wanted, Dead or Dead." In a movie, a man tells a warden he'd rather die in the electric chair than have life in prison and we see the man walking a hallway toward the chair.


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LANGUAGE 5 - 1 F-word, 4 scatological references, 3 anatomical references, 10 mild obscenities, name-calling (boy, kangaroo court, front, Neanderthal, son of a gun, broads, smart mouth, dumb, dumb-egg, whore, fool, flatfoot, fatboy), 4 derogatory terms for women, 1 derogatory term for Native Americans, 1 derogatory term for the wealthy, 6 religious profanities, 2 religious exclamations.


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SUBSTANCE USE - Several people smoke cigarettes and drink cocktails at cafe tables, in a crowded 1930s club scene cocktails, wines and bottles of champaign and wine sit on tables and a bar, in a hunting lodge six men smoke cigarettes and drink whiskey at a bar, in a restaurant, several cocktails sit on tables and two women are shown drinking and in a pool hall bottles of beer sit along the edges of pool tables, but no one drinks. Cigarette smoking is shown many times: A man smokes a cigarette at lunch, a woman smokes a cigarette in her kitchen, a man smokes a cigarette while being questioned in a congressional hearing, a woman smokes a cigarette in her apartment and at a racetrack, a man smokes in a pool hall and the air is hazy with cigarette smoke, a man lights and takes one puff from a cigarette in a detective's squad room, a close up shows the lighting of a cigar, and a man offers a woman a cigarette from a full cigarette case (she declines).


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Crime, legal corruption, gangsters, firearms, prostitution, illegal betting, law enforcement, risk-taking, danger, consequences, relationships, and fame.

MESSAGE - Crime sometimes pays, but at a high cost.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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